Bible Belt Blues - 10 Questions Music Interview
Harold and Paula Vega Vondenstein are Bible Belt Blues, a husband and wife music ministry team from Gulfport, Mississippi. Their music is both fresh and unique: bold, biblically sound lyrics wrapped in early Mississippi Bentonia blues influenced music with a bit of 70’s retro mixed in for good measure. The gritty guitar picking, hauntingly beautiful D & E minor chords, and weeping harmonica are the perfect backdrop for their full-fledged repentance and church revival songs for which they are known.
When did you and your husband, Harold, first start creating music together as a couple?
It was in early September of 2018 after I had convinced him to let me start writing the lyrics first. That is when Bible Belt Blues was officially birthed.
How did you come up with the name Bible Belt Blues?
It was early March of 2018. I was toying around with creating a catchy name that would clearly describe who we are and what we do. The name Bible Belt Blues popped into my head! I said to myself, “There is no way that this name is available,” but it was, so I quickly bought the .com and .org. Then I kept my mouth shut until September of 2018 when we were officially ready to use it.
How did you and your husband Harold meet?
We officially met online on Christmas Day in 2014 when he responded to an ad I placed on Christian Mingle asking for a Christian musician who would not set limits on what God could accomplish through him. Harold responded and the rest is history.
I understand that you and Harold have created your own music genre. How did this come about?
After intensive study of the history of Mississippi’s blues we discovered Bentonia Mississippi’s school of music with its hauntingly beautiful D & E minor chords and its gritty guitar picking. It was the perfect backdrop for our full-fledged repentance songs, invitation songs, and songs for church revivals. It was a marriage made in heaven!
How would you describe your music?
Original Bentonia blues influenced music with bold, biblically sound lyrics with a bit of 70’s retro mixed in for good measure.
What was your motivation for the creation of Bible Belt Blues?
I was disturbed over the growing number of Contemporary Christian songs that lack depth or where the music overpowers the lyrics. I also discovered that there is a great need for repentance songs, invitations songs that are sung as a prayer, and songs for church revivals. That is where we decided to place our focus.
Bible Belt Blues has had an amazing year! Can you tell us about it?
Since January of 2019 Harold and I have released two Christian albums. “I’m Not Ashamed to Be a Christian” and “My God, My God” that we have created, recorded, mixed, mastered, and produced in our own home recording studio. Eleven of our songs have already received radio airplay thanks to Bill and Kat Radio’s Cross 104 Gospel Blues Hour Syndicated Program resulting in numerous placements on the Roots Music Report. Against all odds, we won the coveted 2019 Josie Music Award for Gospel/ Christian Duo after more than 23,000 nominations were submitted across all genres from around the globe.
Can you describe your songwriting process?
It always starts with the lyrics that set the tonality and structure for the songs. I write all the lyrics for Bible Belt Blues and Harold crafts the music. I am his vocal coach and producer and Harold does everything tech including the recording, mixing, and mastering. It is amazing that God gave us all the talents we needed to create music together as a couple. Neither one of us could have accomplished this without the other.
Tell us about your musical background?
Harold plays guitar, keyboards, and the harmonica. He learned guitar at the young age of 12 and has been playing for years with different church music ministries. He never sang much which is why his voice is still intact after all these years. As his vocal coach I discovered the full range of his voice which is perfect for the blues. I studied piano at a young age and have been a member of several church choirs. I also discovered I had a talent for lyric writing in my early twenties, but it has been sitting dormant for years until it suddenly blossomed again with the creation of Bible Belt Blues.
Tell us about your future plans?
We are currently working on our 3rd album while we are actively seeking bookings for concerts at churches and schools. We give God all the glory for the doors He has already opened up for Bible Belt Blues.
For more information, please visit the Bible Belt Blues' website.
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